Join Date: Oct 2002
The Good, The Bad, The Beautiful.
Had this formulating in my mind over several weeks. Thought now would be as good a time to debate it, before it’s long forgotten.
As far as animation for television goes, what have been some of your most heart-rending moments from shows you’ve seen?
We won’t include anime in this. Lord knows, Evangelion’s enough to make you gouge out your own eyes and grab a .39 calibre as a result of mass depression.
We’re talking television. From your classic eighties cartoon shows, to your more recent animated comedies, there are moments where your heart skips a beat. Or perhaps an instance that almost, if not completely does, bring you to tears. It’s those times when we do marvel at the true beauty of the art form, one that’s as timeless today as it was fifty years ago.
As for me, there’s been several.
I’ll start with The Simpsons.
The ending to the episode ‘Mother Simpson’, from season six. Probably one of, if not the most poignant moment in the show’s history. Something that took me ten years to appreciate how beautiful it really is. Alf Clausen does more flawless work with the orchestration, and the visuals are stunning. Homer sitting on the hood of the car, looking up at the stars. I think something that touched me even more, was during the audio commentary, just before the credits rolled, Matt Groening mentioned how with the original air date, he specifically asked Fox not to advertise or have any voiceovers as the credits went. Just perfect ambience, to capture the moment, and take your breath away. Incidentally, the episodes which followed, involving Mona (Homer’s mother), also had some equally powerful moments.
Next, from season thirteen, ‘The Frying Game’. I’m not the biggest fan of the later seasons, but the climax do this episode was ridiculously heart-wrenching. The build-up to Homer and Marge being suspects in the murder trial. Being tried and found guilty, and set for execution. But then, Homer’s act of self-sacrifice to admit the murder as his own, so Marge could go free, was beautifully done. Same as the walking of the green mile, right to the point when the switch is thrown. First time I watched the episode, my heart was in my throat, and I was almost welling up, because of how it had been played out. All to discover it’s a hoax for a reality show. Shame, but relieving.
I’ll now move on to Futurama. If anyone mentions this show, they’ll almost always regard the ending scene from ‘Jurassic Bark’ as perhaps one of the saddest things they’ve ever seen. After Fry says that his dog Seymour, after Fry was frozen, would’ve forgotten all about him and found another owner, we’re proved completely wrong, by the unmitigated devotion the dog has, waiting out the rest of his life for Fry to return, until finally, he lays down to sleep, forever. People had always talked about the scene, and I only watched the entire episode myself a month or two ago. I almost cried. It’s again played out effortlessly, no speech, only music. It’s a memorable scene for its prowess and heartbreaking content.
I know I’m focusing on the big guns, and this one still surprises me, but even Family Guy can do its serious. Season three’s ‘Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows’ is often dubbed as the most humane episode, and with good reason. The final scene, of Peter letting his birds fly free, crossed with Brian by Pearl’s bedside before she passes away, is such an overwhelming moment in the show’s history, that again, it stands out for that very reason. It would have been heavy to just end the episode there, heartbreaking as it was, but I think the final scene compliments it extremely well. Something of a downer, and then, one last split second of visual comedy brings it home, and rounds off another fabulous episode.
And just to prove I’m not focusing on current, ever-popular animated comedies, when I was younger, while I never shed a tear at Optimus’s passing in the Transformers movie, I always bawled when he died a second time in the season three episode ‘Dark Awakening’. Still makes me slightly disenchanted now, but mainly, I just get niggled by the poor animation.
That’s me drained for an evening.
Blizzards of cyan stardust bleed in me forever.